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Book Review: Jane Austen's First Love by Syrie James

I recently finished reading Jane Austen's First Love by Syrie James. A big thank you to her and to the wonderful Laurel Ann Nattress for sending me a copy to read and review here. This blog is participating the Jane Austen's First Love Holiday Blog Tour (November 17th - 14th), which I'll have author Syrie James stop by here and do a guest blog post next week on Tuesday, December 9th. It's been a while since I have an Austen author guest blog here, so I'm very excited and honored to be part of Syrie James' holiday blog tour this month for her latest published novel.

While I've mostly posted here P&P/Austen related and (you can read more of my film reviews in my Movies Blog), this is actually my third book review (thus far...I previously reviewed Austenprose’s Laurel Ann Nattress' Jane Austen Made Me Do It and Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy by Barbara Tiller Cole) as Ashley (my fellow blog contributor here at the P&P Blog) did most of the P&P/Austen related
Before I do my book review, first, read a book description of Jane Austen's First Love here...

In the summer of 1791, fifteen-year-old Miss Jane Austen is determined to accomplish three things: to do something useful, write something worthy, and fall madly in love. While visiting at Goodnestone Park in Kent for a month of festivities in honor of her brother's engagement to Miss Elizabeth Bridges, Jane meets the boy-next-door—the wealthy, worldly, and devilishly handsome Edward Taylor, heir to Bifrons Park, and hopefully her heart! Like many of Jane’s future heroes and heroines, she soon realizes that there are obstacles—social, financial, and otherwise—blocking her path to love and marriage, one of them personified by her beautiful and sweet tempered rival, Charlotte Payler.

Unsure of her own budding romance, but confident in her powers of observation, Jane distracts herself by attempting to maneuver the affections of three other young couples. But when her well-intentioned matchmaking efforts turn into blundering misalliance, Jane must choose between following her own happily-ever-after, or repairing those relationships which, based on erroneous first impressions, she has misaligned.
My Book Review: Jane Austen's First Love

I loved and thoroughly enjoyed reading Jane Austen's First Love by Syrie James. I thought she did a fantastic job writing this wonderful novel about a much younger Jane Austen and what her life must have been like at fifteen and falling in love with a wealthy, adventurous, and handsome young man named Edward Taylor. I've seen the movie, Becoming Jane (starring Anne Hathaway) and had read a couple books and, of course, had read her biography (which is available to read online on various Austen sites online) about Jane Austen, but I didn't know a lot about Miss Jane, especially her younger years. So, this was a very interesting and fascinating tale to read about Austen's first love, which was inspired by the facts of her life and of Edward Taylor's. I love that this was presented like a memoir in Austen's own words and writing style. I was quite immersed in reading this book and at the same time, learned a lot about JA and her life as a teen.

Young Miss Jane Austen in this story was quite clever, opinionated, witty, lively, and a very fascinating young lady. She reminded me of two of her own strong heroine characters (a combination of Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse) from her classic and much loved novels (Pride and Prejudice and Emma) as far as her personality traits goes. It was fun to read the three things she most dreamed of, such as doing something useful, writing something worthy, and falling madly in love with a certain handsome young man. During that unforgettable Summer of 1791, Jane, with her mother, older sister Cassandra, and her younger brother Charles were invited to attend the engagement festivities of her older brother Edward and his fiancée Elizabeth Bridges at Goodnestone Park in Kent. The Austens attended several parties (hosted by the Bridges family) such as an engagement ball, a picnic, a strawberry-picking party, and a Midsummer's Eve bonfire. Jane enjoyed meeting (and falling in love with) Edward Taylor. She really enjoyed his company and shared some common interests with him. It was also interesting to read that while Miss Jane was falling in love with Mr. Taylor, she also got to secretly play a match-maker to a few pairings of couples after she observed them. With a couple of unsuspecting pairs, whom she thought were mismatched (Emma Woodhouse style, lol...). She ended up writing a clever and funny story about the Bridges sisters, which she closely observed and got an idea of doing a home theatrical play, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to cast and pair up two pairings of couples she thought were misaligned and would try to match up the right pair. The Shakespeare play part (which I must say, I don't know much about) in this story was the most fun and entertaining to read.

Overall, Jane Austen's First Love is a delightful, romantic, compelling, witty, entertaining, informative, and a must-read book. Also, it was well-researched, written beautifully, had a great plot, and quite insightful. I really had a great time reading it. I highly recommend all my fellow P&P/Austen fans and readers here to check out and read this novel.

Book Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)!



Syrie James, hailed as “the queen of nineteenth century re-imaginings” by Los Angeles Magazine, is the bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels that have been translated into 18 languages. Her books have been awarded the Audio Book Association Audie, designated as Editor’s Picks by Library Journal, named a Discover Great New Writer’s Selection by Barnes and Noble, a Great Group Read by the Women’s National Book Association, and Best Book of the Year by The Romance Reviews and Suspense Magazine. Syrie is a member of the WGA and lives in Los Angeles. Please visit her at syriejames.com, Facebook or say hello on Twitter @SyrieJames

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  1. I loved reading about a younger Jane Austen too. I thought it was beautifully written.

  2. Thanks for the great review, so intrigued by this book, it is on the top of my wish list.

  3. Thank you for the wonderful review! :)

  4. Thanks for the thorough review! It's definitely on my to-read list. :)

  5. Thanks everyone for stopping by on this blog and for your comments on this post. Glad you enjoyed reading my JAFL book review. Thanks again. :)


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